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VMware acquisition of SpringSource may lead to Java PaaS

VMware's acquistion of SpringSource leads one analyst to believe that Java will be brought to the cloud, perhaps as a Platform as a Service. OSGi would likely play a role.

UPDATE - VMware acquired this week enterprise Java application framework specialist SpringSource, suggesting the virtualization provider intends to become more involved in application development.

"What is most interesting is the talk about Java as a cloud or a platform as a service," said Michael Cote, analyst with Red Monk, in an e-mail interview. "[It] could be an interesting offering to see."

Enterprise software written in Java often functions behind a firewall, not on the cloud. "I am not sure if it is always as easy to translate Java applications to running on a cloud as it might be for Web applications," said Cote "It will be interesting to see…what [SpringSource and VMware] could do if they set about making a Java Platform as a Service."

OSGi may play a role in developing Java applications for the cloud. "SpringSource is very involved with OSGi, a way to componentize Java," said Cote. "Since the Spring Framework uses a lot of OSGi nowadays, that would be another way that people would develop applications."

The light-weight Java framework addresses the job of integrating different often-employed APIs and objects in a consistent manner. Programming with Spring is widely seen as less difficult than with full-featured Java EE servers such as WebSphere, WebLogic and JBoss.

The acquisition may also change the way some applications are delivered. Said Cote: "If [VMware] used SpringSource and their own virtualization and cloud assets, they could create a new way and platform for delivering applications."

Analyst Chris Haddad with Burton Group suggests VMware's backing can help further SpringSource's efforts to promote the popular Spring Framework.

"SpringSource has been a credible Java application platform contender to IBM, Oracle, RedHat, and SAP. SpringSource has won developer mindshare due to their innovative programming model and open source lineage," Haddad wrote in an e-mail response to questions.

"While the acquisition will facilitate IT datacenter operation staff acceptance and adoption of SpringSource application servers, sales channel challenges will remain. To be effective, VMware/SpringSource must continue to execute on their product partnership strategy and deliver innovative and reliable infrastructure at a competitive price point," he wrote.

"The VMware acquisition provides 'big company' stability and support to a strong product line. Of course, success is predicated on the VMware management team nurturing rather than stifling SpringSource's culture and operational processes," Haddad wrote in an e-mail response to questions.

Through acquiring SpringSource, VMware would gain the assets from open source systems and network monitoring application software provider Hyperic, which SpringSource acquired in May.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story misidentified Michael Cote.

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